The paper explores a new thesis about Africa’s international relations. In the twenty-first century, Africa is being reinvented by the regional internationalism of African states constituted as the African Union (AU). The theory positions the continent as a historical international region to reveal its expanded, evolving participation in collectively reversing the continent’s marginal global position. It argues that that Africa’s new regional internationalism is shaped by increasing complexity in international politics that has emerged because of transformations toward deep global pluralism to unravel a new theory about the African region’s impact on global politics. It is argued that Africa’s regional internationalism is both a product and a driver of transformative global politics in the twenty-first century. This thesis replaces the extraversion theory of African international relations, which contends that the continent’s internationalism has contributed negatively to a relationship of self-interested, dependence in African states’ relations with the rest of the world. Alternatively, in this paper I argue that the continent is centered as an international entity and world region that has experienced long-standing historical global junctures, encounters, and transformations achieved by a variegated assemblage of actors at the community, national, regional, and global levels. What does Africa’s new role in global politics mean for the theory and practice of the international relations of Africa? The paper examines African global encounters —global diversity and inclusion, regional-global governance, international conflict management, transnational justice, China-Africa relations, and global economy— to discern an answer relating to the dynamic emergence of Africa’s new global politics.
Rita Kiki Edozie, University of Massachusetts Boston, United States